||Master at Arms: Hoplite is a short 8 page d20 pdf featuring a prestige class, the hoplite. This product is the fourth instalment in the Master at Arms series, each product in the series providing a detailed five level prestige class for fighters built around a particular weapon. In this instalment in the series, Blackdirge Publishing present the spear-wielding hoplite, a warrior from ancient Greece brought into the d20 fantasy world.
The product comes as a single pdf file. The product includes a pleasant cover featuring a hoplite in action, and the general design and layout is similar to other products in the series. This is probably one of the more faultless pdfs I've seen in a while, barring the lack of bookmarks. Writing and editing are excellent, mechanics of statistics are stellar, and general presentation for such a short product is excellent. The product looks and feels like good value for money, and thankfully the content doesn't disappoint either. Only 5 of the 8 pages of this product actually contain content. Since there are no borders in the product, it should be fairly ink-friendly to print this pdf.
The product presents a new 5 level prestige class for your d20 game, the hoplite. Those familiar with the history of the hoplites will know what the content entails, but the author starts the product with a useful introduction to the hoplite and its function in ancient warfare. The author uses this tactical and historical perspective to then design the hoplite prestige class, and includes some useful design notes to get some insight into the design choices that Aeryn Rudel had made in designing the prestige class. This section is sufficient, although there is always a craving for more with regard to the tactics and history of these famous warriors of the ancient.
The prestige class itself relies naturally on the use of the spear. It's very faithful to the historical perspective, or at least the perceived history, and a splendid job has been done to bring the prestige class to life. Hoplites' abilities include fighting with spears using only one hand, strength when fighting near allies in formation, the ability to skewer your opponents and a few more useful skills at arms that the hoplite exhibits. It would actually have been interesting to see what a ten level treatment of this class would look like. Nevertheless, this is a beauty of a little prestige class, and very useful for any campaign, whether military or not. While hoplites may not always be the most adventuring of prestige classes, they can fit in well with other warriors in an adventuring party.
The last section of the pdf features a fully detailed NPC utilizing the material in the pdf. The NPC includes full statistics for a CR 17 hobgoblin hoplite, and leader of a group of hobgoblin elite soldiers. The history and background is very good, and provides interesting details for a high level NPC in a d20 fantasy setting. For a short pdf this ticks all the boxes - great presentation, value for money, quality material and good utility. This is a very useful pdf containing a class that's designed well and should play well in game. Excellent product.
LIKED: Well-designed and useful prestige class that brings the historical hoplite to life. Excellent presentation and good value for money.
DISLIKED: Nothing. A great pdf all round, except perhaps for the lack of bookmarks.
VALUE: Very Satisfied
[5 of 5 Stars!]